Barely a week on the job, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach Will Wade is already making is presence felt on the Mocs roster.
Wade and newly hired assistant Wes Long announce the signings of two new players in Virginia Commonwealth transfer Justin Tuoyo and high school senior Anthanee Doyle.
"Really excited about Justin and Anthanee," Wade said Monday. "Both of these kids ... signed sight unseen. They've never set foot on this campus. ... It was a leap of faith on their part based on relationships we've had."
Tuoyo is finishing his freshman year at VCU and will sit out next season per NCAA transfer rules. He will have three years of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-9 post was ranked as high as No. 84 in the nation coming out of Lovejoy High School in Hampton, Ga.
"I think he'll be a critical piece for us this season in the sense that he knows exactly what I want, he knows exactly what I'm about and he knows exactly what our system is," said Wade, who recruited Tuoyo to VCU. "He'll be a great resource for our guys here now, because he's been through it all. He knows what we're looking for and knows what we're trying to get out of everything."
Tuoyo averaged 1.1 points and 1.4 rebounds per game last season with 11 blocks in limited playing time, and Wade said his best games came at the end of the season.
Doyle had committed to play for Long at Queens University of Charlotte but had not signed a letter of intent and will follow the Queens coach to Chattanooga.
"I had planned to play with Coach Long, because he sold me on his style and his morality," Doyle said by phone Monday. "And when he called and told me there was an opportunity for me to play in Chattanooga, I was excited."
Doyle scored 1,065 points at Holly Springs (N.C.) High School and is a two-time All-Tri-9 Conference team member.
"Doyle addresses three major needs," Wade said. "He can handle the ball, ... he's a very, very good 3-point shooter, and he's really long and athletic and can hound the ball and guard the ball in our full-court press."
Doyle was recruited by several Division I schools before committing to Queens, including being shown interest by former UTC coach John Shulman. During that time, Doyle said he made a connection with former Mocs guard Casey Long, also a former North Carolina prep star, who worked as an assistant coach under Shulman and was retained on the staff by Wade.
"Coach Casey Long is from my hometown, and he told me he can make me a better player and a better man," Doyle said. "So I'm looking forward to it."
Contact Jim Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6478.
Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...